With the Raiders playing division rivals the past month, TFOS has been on a break. But with the Raiders traveling to the re-inflated Metrodome to face the deflated Vikings, it is time for another installment. This week I caught up with the Vikings blogger over at Purple Jesus Diaries (not to be confused with the Orange Jesus the Raiders faced two weeks ago), to get his blessing on what the Raiders should expect while visiting the land-o-lakes this Sunday. Here is what he had to say.
1. How big of an impact do you think losing Antoine Winfield will have on the Vikings? And who will replace him in the lineup?
Eh, at this point in our season it doesn’t matter at all. Our secondary is trashier than Oscar the Grouch. Winfield has missed half the season already with a weird neck injury, and just now went on IR thanks to a clavicle injury suffered against Green Bay. The Vikings brought in Benny Sapp this week, who played two years for us before he was traded to Miami. He’s not very good (best as a 3rd or 4th CB option) but in our terrible secondary he becomes a starter probably immediately. That should tell you something about our pass defense.
2. Do you think the Vikings will ask Ponder to do much this game, or will it be Adrian Peterson all day?
I think the team goes back to feeding Purple Jesus the carries. Ponder CAN help, but it will likely be in a game manager type situation. The Vikings defense is so horrid right now that their best defense is just to keep the offense on the field. If the Vikings are playing to win (which isn’t a guarantee, mind you) they’ll pound the ball with Peterson and put Ponder in easy to succeed positions. Likely, that still won’t be enough.
3. How do you see the Vikings responding to last week’s big loss to the Packers? Back with a vengeance or beaten down?
Beaten down, and then some. Many fans were referring to that game as the team’s “Super Bowl” in this forgettable season. And that was the halfway point of the year. With that lost everything is about next year at this point. With no real immediate concern about a team we only see once every four years (once every eight at home), I could easily see the Vikings just going through the motions this week as a team. However, some individual players will still play inspired, including Ponder, Peterson, Harvin, and Jared Allen, but obviously you can’t play 11 on 2 team football and expect to win.
4. What worries you most about this Vikings team facing the Raiders?
Not a ton, actually. Carson Palmer has looked like a hot mess since his arrival. He may be able to sling the ball around, but when he’s throwing three interceptions a game, does it matter? I would guess the Raiders’ defense will give the Vikings fits, especially Ponder who maybe hasn’t seen a scheme like the Raiders in his young career.
5. Do the Vikings have an X-factor?
Outside of Peterson? You always have to watch out for Harvin. The coaching staff has been very cognizant of trying to get him the ball in a variety of ways, and when he has some open space in front of him … look out. Especially on the Metrodome turf. End arounds, swing passes, direct snaps, he’s a jack-of-all-trades and I think the team is still trying to figure out how to best use him. They’ll continue to experiment in this lost season, and may surprise an unprepared team at some point.
6. Who wins on Sunday between the Raiders and Vikings?
Wow. Not sure. I don’t think either team is that great this season. If the Raiders had Jason Campbell still and if Run DMC didn’t have his injuries I’d give the edge to them. But I see this as being one of those flukey, weird games that the Vikings have (like they did with the Cardinals earlier this year in one of their two season wins) where a perfect storm of items come together at home and they get a win. Maybe something like 24-20? We’ll see.
To see my answers to his questions, Click Here.